Skin Balancing Super Antioxidant Concentrate Serum with Retinol

Pores, you’re not growing on me. Wrinkles, stand down. A few drops of this serum morning and night shrinks enlarged pores and smooths skin. You win.
Item #: 335
  • Acne Breakouts, Anti-Aging, Blackheads, Enlarged Pores, Wrinkles
  • Combination , Oily Skin
  • Protects your skin from environmental damage
  • Silky-smooth texture makes a great foundation primer
  • Great for use around eyes

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Skin Balancing Super Antioxidant Concentrate Serum with Retinol

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Customer Ratings:

78 out of 100
(Based on 257 Reviews)
Page of 11 Next »
  1. caroline
    Reviewed on Sunday, January 25, 2015
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    Super Silky
    • i purchased this product in spite of some of the negative reviews some users wrote about this product. After reading the back of this tube, I realized it said to shake very well before each use. So I did just that. What I experienced was a very silky, super absorbent and weightless product that felt amazing. I have acne prone skin and this product was perfect. Also it acts as an amazing primer before makeup. I will purchase this product again and will make it part of my daily regimen.

  2. Jami V.
    Reviewed on Thursday, January 22, 2015
    20 out of 100
    • Rating
      Worst / 4
    Too much silicone
    • I've liked the other PC products I've tried so far, but this one to me fell really short. I don't see how this can be labeled a serum as it doesn't have what we have all come to expect from a serums texture, instead it's loaded with silicone. If you look at the first few ingredients they are all silicone slip agents which is why it has that silicone foundation primer feel to it. I don't see how so much silicone slip adds to the effectiveness of this product. I think it takes away from it.

    Customer Service Response
    Replied on: Friday, January 23, 2015

    Hello, and thank you for sharing your experience with us - we're sorry to hear this didn't work as expected for you! Please contact a member of our Customer Care team for information on a possible exchange or refund.

    —Paula's Choice Research Team
  3. Cristina C.
    Reviewed on Sunday, January 04, 2015
    60 out of 100
    • Rating
      Neutral / 4
    Love the ingredients, wish the texture was different
    • The ingredients deserve 5 stars, the texture gets 2 in my book. It comes out in chunks & it feels like plastic on my skin. My first tube got separated on the inside into 2 different substances despite shaking it well. Overall, my skin looks good, but I can't tell if it's the serum or the other PC products I use. I didn't see a drastic change from this serum alone, so it's not a must for me. Switching to the Resist UltraLight Serum despite lacking retinol because it glides on the skin like a dream

  4. Anonymous
    Reviewed on Monday, December 29, 2014
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    I'm surprised how much I like it!
    • Wanting a retinol product, I immediately went straight for the "big gun", purchasing the Clinical 1%. It was WAY too strong for me! I was so disappointed. In my mind I dismissed this Skin Balancing Serum, assuming the low concentration would be ineffective. I recently tried the free trial size and was really surprise how quickly I saw benefit! Smoother, clear skin with a less oily appearance. I bought the tube. Sometimes less is more...

  5. Barbara J.
    Reviewed on Sunday, December 21, 2014
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    Love the texture
    • I purchased a sample of this as I wasn't sure if I'd like it from the reviews. Before I finished the sample I was on the website ordering the full size. I agree that it looks odd and jelly like when you squeeze it on your finger and I find its best to shake the tube before dispensing. I love how it absorbs into my skin and feels so smooth. I had slight irritation around one eye that lasted one day and I'm sure was due to using my sample of the 1% retinal at night and this in a.m.

  6. Angela
    Reviewed on Friday, December 19, 2014
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    Best makeup primer
    • I've thrown away all my other primers. This is skincare + primer all in one fantastic product. If you like silicone primers that make your skin silky-smooth and ready for foundation to glide on, just pat on this serum and save the extra step. I was a bit puzzled with the texture in the beginning, too, as it seemed to just disappear into my skin. But run your fingers over your skin after smoothing on a thin layer and you'll feel the silky difference.

  7. k c.
    Reviewed on Monday, December 15, 2014
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    Skin Balancing super
    • Fantastic!

  8. MARY C.
    Reviewed on Saturday, December 13, 2014
    20 out of 100
    • Rating
      Worst / 4
    Nothing to like
    • I'm a Paulas Choice fan but find nothing to like about this product. It has a weird jelly-like texture when you squeeze it out of the tube, and it often falls off your fingertips before you can get it to your face. Once smoothed onto the face, it feels like pure silicone, not moisturizing just slippery. And it has a strong, unpleasant floral scent reminiscent of cut flowers that have gone by and need to be thrown out..

  9. Alicia C.
    Reviewed on Thursday, December 11, 2014
    80 out of 100
    • Rating
      Good / 4
    Moderate improvement
    • I used this on one side of my face for three weeks to judge the effect. I definitely saw an improvement in the appearance of lines around my eyes, and the skin appeared smoother. I am done with the sample and will purchase the full size.

  10. Anonymous
    Reviewed on Saturday, November 29, 2014
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    Will keep using the serum
    • I've used this serum for a month. I can't really tell if it has made my pores smaller. But my husband insists my skin condition is much better. I do see that my skin tone is more even and my skin looks brighter. I can understand why people complain about the texture, but I don't really mind myself. I kind of got used to it. I read somewhere on this website that the difference between serum and moisturizer is that the serum is packed only with nutrients which prob. contributed to the texture.

  11. CK
    Reviewed on Monday, November 24, 2014
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    Skin balancing indeed
    • After I actually started using this on a regular basis, I found I didn't need all those AHA/BHA exfoliants anymore. This really helped minimize oily large pores, more than all the "stripping" type products I was using. Made wrinkles far less visible too...but only after I actually started using it regularly. Impressed my dermatologist. It's a bit slippery, but just rub a tiny bit between hands, then on face. Great with the Vitamin C serum too (Vitamin C is difficult to apply!).

  12. Brianna Z.
    Reviewed on Monday, November 24, 2014
    40 out of 100
    • Rating
      Poor / 4
    Impressive Ingredients, Terrible Texture
    • I really wanted to like this because I love other PC products so much. But the texture is not good - it's like trying to spread gelatin on your face. Sadly, I don't really care if this works because I dislike the texture so much. I do like the 1% clinical retinol a lot, which has a nice lotion-like texture. This is my first poor review for a PC product; I'm hoping if enough people will comment on the texture they'll reformulate it, because the ingredients list is quite impressive.

    Customer Service Response
    Replied on: Monday, November 24, 2014

    Hello, and thank you for sharing your experience with us - we will take your comments into consideration about the texture. We also invite you to reach out to a member of our Customer Care team for information about a possible exchange or refund.

    —Paula's Choice Research Team
  13. Siouxi V.
    Reviewed on Saturday, November 22, 2014
    40 out of 100
    • Rating
      Poor / 4
    Am I Missing Something?
    • This is the only Paula's Choice product that had no effect whatsoever in my skin! I really wish I could give this a higher rating but other than smelling neat, it did nothing for me. I'm crestfallen and feel like I'm doing something wrong. I also wonder if its less of a skin changer and more of a skin fertilizer food kind of thing since it's packed with so much anti-oxidants. I'm at a lost.

    Customer Service Response
    Replied on: Monday, November 24, 2014

    Hello, and thanks for sharing your comments! We invite you to reach out to a member of our Customer Care team, who can work with you to optimize your skincare routine - or work to find a product that might have better results for your particularly skin type.

    —Paula's Choice Research Team
  14. Kara K.
    Reviewed on Saturday, November 08, 2014
    20 out of 100
    • Rating
      Worst / 4
    A lot of money for nothing
    • I bought this in hopes that it would help with my fine lines and help get my acne prone combo skin back on track. I also hoped it would live up to the claim of being a great primer. However, I can't say that it really did anything at all. It felt great going on and made my skin feel smooth for a few minutes, but then seemed to disappear. I used the entire tube, hoping that over time I'd see some kind of result, but I never did. It's a shame, because I love other products from this line/brand.

    Customer Service Response
    Replied on: Monday, November 10, 2014

    Hi, and thank you for sharing your experince - we're sorry to hear this didn't work out for you! Please contact a member of our Customer Care team for a possible exchange or refund.

    —Paula's Choice Research Team
  15. Jennifer W.
    Reviewed on Saturday, November 01, 2014
    60 out of 100
    • Rating
      Neutral / 4
    Love the smell but sticking with Skin Recovery
    • Decided to try this lighter version for the summer, but I much prefer the Skin Recovery Antioxidant Serum with Retinol. I find that I get a gummy residue on my skin if I apply this before my BHA gel is completely dry, which I find a bit weird.... I have to use more product than with the Skin Recovery and my skin seems to benefit less, but I LOVE the subtle smell it has! (is it the green tea?)

  16. Carolynn
    Reviewed on Friday, October 31, 2014
    20 out of 100
    • Rating
      Worst / 4
    Hated it
    • This serum has an awful texture! It does not absorb into the skin well. Worst yet, I saw absolutely no results in my more pore size after using it daily for 2 months. I also tried to use it as a foundation primer but it did not temporarily smooth my skin or prolong my foundation wear. Total waste of money and I actually ended up just throwing it out which is something I never do. I usually try to use up the products I purchase even when I don't particularly love them but I just couldn't use it.

    Customer Service Response
    Replied on: Friday, October 31, 2014

    Hi, and thanks for letting us know about your experience - we're sorry to hear this product didn't work for you! We recommend contacting our Customer Care department, who might be able to help you out with an exchange or refund.

    —Paula's Choice Research Team
  17. Shell
    Reviewed on Friday, October 24, 2014
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    Great night time serum
    • I have rosacea and I'm always worried about products irritating my skin. This didn't turn my skin red or caused break outs! In fact it left my face noticeably smother the next morning. Much less pealing the my regular prescription retinol but I can still tell it works (unlike every other over the counter retinol product I've tried). It's not oily but dose have a gel-like slip that takes getting use to. Please don't stop making this!

  18. Sharon P
    Reviewed on Friday, October 17, 2014
    40 out of 100
    • Rating
      Poor / 4
    Awful texture
    • I did not like the texture of this product. It is very light, to the point of needing to use a lot of product to "feel" it on my face. A lot of shaking is required to mix before use and even then the consistency is uneven and not what I expect I serum to be. The Resist antioxidant serum is a far superior product.

  19. Theron W
    Reviewed on Wednesday, October 08, 2014
    80 out of 100
    • Rating
      Good / 4
    Consistency
    • I use more of the product than is advised because there's not enough "slip" even after adding three drops of the Resist C15. At times the serum starts "rolling off" when applying the next product (this may be typical of products that have a lot of silicones). I've tried and would go with the Resist Ultra-Light serum, but I am concerned with the yellow cast other fair skinned people are noticing with that serum and my skin feels oilier by mid-day rather than if I had used the Skin Balancing one.

  20. Chelsea E
    Reviewed on Saturday, September 13, 2014
    60 out of 100
    • Rating
      Neutral / 4
    Smooth texture, but no results
    • I love the texture of this product, except that it seems like I have to use a lot to get it to spread over my whole face. It's silky smooth but seems to soak in/evaporate so quickly that it dries up before I can get it everywhere, so I have to go back for more. I hope the antioxidants are worth it, because I don't notice any difference in my skin whatsoever since using this product for a month-- I just have to trust that it's doing something.

  21. Kathy J.
    Reviewed on Sunday, September 07, 2014
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    What A Fantastic Serum...
    • This serum is great for night and daytime use; the silky texture makes it ideal for both applications, but it really is especially nice as a primer. One teeny hiccup, I've been using this for a while and still have over half of the tube left, but the product has changed color from yellow to clear. I am leery to continue use as I don't know what has caused this, or if it's effective anymore? I always shake vigorously before use and it's stored in a temperature neutral location - not the bathroom.

    Customer Service Response
    Replied on: Monday, September 08, 2014

    Hi there! This color change is normal as you continue to use the product. It does not mean the serum is ineffective; rather, the deeper color from some of the antioxidants has lightened a bit due to incidental air exposure. Again, this does not mean the product is ineffective.

    —Admin
  22. Maggie D
    Reviewed on Wednesday, September 03, 2014
    80 out of 100
    • Rating
      Good / 4
    I like
    • I really like this stuff. It feels nice on and makes my face feel really soft. The consistency is weird. It is like a jelly. I use way more than I should of the product bc of the consistency. Also when I first start using a tube it is a dark color after a few uses the product is much lighter. Is this batch not mixed well? Is it suppose to be like a jelly?

    Customer Service Response
    Replied on: Wednesday, September 03, 2014

    Yes, the texture is jelly-like. This product must be shaken well before each use, or you can see two different colors dispensed. This has to do with some of the antioxidants in the formula.

    —Admin
  23. Madison S.
    Reviewed on Thursday, August 28, 2014
    80 out of 100
    • Rating
      Good / 4
    New formulation?
    • I have purchased this serum twice and have loved how it smooths out my pores and has blurred some red marks, not to mention loving all the healthy ingredients for my skin. But now I am hesitant to reorder after seeing other reviewers talking about this product being reformulated and causing breakouts. When was this product reformulated? I loved the old formula!

    Customer Service Response
    Replied on: Friday, September 05, 2014

    Thanks for your comments! This product hasn't had a recent reformulation, though it's possible you'll see minor changes from batch to batch (all are within our specifications for this product). There was a raw material discontinuation at the end of 2013, but it was replaced with the same ingredient from another supplier, so no formulary change resulted.

    —Admin
  24. Kelsey A.
    Reviewed on Wednesday, August 27, 2014
    60 out of 100
    • Rating
      Neutral / 4
    Odd consistency...
    • I've purchased this serum two or three times because it has great qualities. Like many PC products it multitasks and is far and away cheaper than other retinol products. It also leaves a lovely finish. That being said the consistency is hard to deal with. I have to shake the tube hard for a long time to get the product to mix and "drip" in to the "few drops" recommended. Then those two or three drops do not cover my entire face so I use more and then the bottle doesn't last long enough.

  25. Katy C.
    Reviewed on Saturday, August 23, 2014
    40 out of 100
    • Rating
      Poor / 4
    Feels good going on, but...
    • This didn't do anything for my skin. I liked the silky texture of this, but unfortunately, I didn't see any improvement at all in my large pores. Makeup goes on smoothly over this, but it makes my makeup melt off in a fast amount of time. Too bad.

Page of 11 Next »

What makes this product unique?
Skin Balancing Super Antioxidant Concentrate Serum with Retinol is a brilliant serum for all degrees of oily skin. Substantial, well-researched antioxidants, cell-communicating ingredients and potent anti-irritants are delivered in a silky base that feels weightless on skin. Once applied, this product forms a breathable barrier which not only protects the skin but works to nourish and repair it. It also significantly reduces irritation and inflammation from environmental exposure, allowing skin to repair itself naturally. Those with oily skin will love the special absorbent ingredients that leave a smooth matte finish, plus ingredients that normalize how skin behaves. No need for a separate foundation primer, as this provides all the benefits of a primer plus anti-aging and mattifying ingredients!

This product is 100% fragrance- and colorant-free.

Who is this product for?
Skin Balancing Super Antioxidant Concentrate Serum is formulated for normal to oily/combination skin. It is excellent as a foundation primer for oily skin. The formula is suitable for breakout-prone skin and complements a Paula's Choice Clear anti-acne routine.

Sources to support the claims made for Skin Balancing Super Antioxidant Concentrate Serum

Duodecim, Volume 128, Issue 22, 2012, pages 2,327–2,335; and Journal of Drugs in Dermatology, June 2011, pages 614–620; Archives of Dermatological Research, March 2010, pages 71–83; Indian Journal of Dermatology, Venereology and Leprolology, January-February 2010, pages 20-26; Skin Pharmacology and Physiology, September 2009, pages 299–304; Skin Research and Technology, August 2009, pages 338–345; Dermatologic Surgery, July 2009, pages 1,057–1,065; Dermatologic Therapy, September-October 2007, pages 314-321; General Physiology and Biophysics, June 2007, pages 97-103;Archives of Dermatology, May 2007, pages 606-612; Cosmetic Dermatology, supplement, Revisiting Retinol, January 2005, pages 1-20; Dermatologic Surgery, July 2005, pages 799-804; International Journal of Immunopathology and Pharmacology, July-September 2005, pages 497-502; Experimental Dermatology, September 2005, pages 684-691; International Journal of Biological Macromolecules, July 2005, pages 116-119; Skin Pharmacology and Physiology, January-February 2005, pages 20-26; Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, April 2005, pages 1156-1162; Mechanisms of Ageing Development, July 2004, pages 465-473; and Journal of Dermatology, November 2001, pages 595-598; European Journal of Medical Research, September 2001, pages 391–398; Journal of Controlled Release, January 2000, pages 7–17 Journal of Investigative Dermatology, September 1997, pages 301–305.

Key Ingredients: Chamomilla recutita flower extract, vitamin E, caprylic/capric triglyceride, vitamin C, grape seed extract, antioxidant, skin-repairing ingredients, Rubus idaeus, astaxanthin extract, retinol, cranberry seed extract, bisabolol, cell-communicating ingredients, green tea, chamomile, Glycine soja oil, vitamin A, Vitis vinifera

Product Ingredients:

Cyclopentasiloxane (silicone slip agent), Isododecane (matte finish solvent), Cyclohexasiloxane (silicone slip agent), Dimethicone Crosspolymer (silicone suspending agent), Neopentyl Glycol Diheptanoate (non-aqueous thickener), Retinyl Palmitate (Vitamin A/antioxidant), Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride (thickener), Retinol (antioxidant/cell-communicating ingredient), Tocopheryl Acetate (vitamin E/antioxidant), Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate (vitamin C/antioxidant), Haematococcus Pluvialis (Astaxanthin) Extract (antioxidant pigment), Bisabolol, Chamomilla Recutita (Matricaria) Flower Extract, Camellia Sinensis (Green Tea) Leaf Extract, Camellia Oleifera (Green Tea) Leaf Extract (antioxidants/anti-irritants), Salix Alba (Willow) Leaf Extract (anti-irritant), Vitis Vinifera (Grape) Seed Extract, Ginkgo Biloba (Ginkgo) Leaf Extract, Calluna Vulgaris (Heather) Flower Extract, Vaccinium Macrocarpon (Cranberry) Fruit Extract, Rubus Idaeus (Raspberry) Fruit Extract, Betula Alba (White Birch) Bark Extract (antioxidants), Glycine Soja (Soybean) Oil (antioxidant plant oil), Silica (absorbent), Phenoxyethanol (preservative).

DIRECTIONS: Apply after cleansing, toning and exfoliating. Smooth a few drops onto face, neck and eye area before moisturizing. For daytime, follow with a broad-spectrum sunscreen rated SPF 25 or greater. May be alternated with a Paula’s Choice serum that does not contain retinol.

Detailed instructions on how/when to apply your Paula's Choice products can be found in our How to Put Together Your Own Skincare Routine article.

Which Paula’s Choice serum should I use?

All skin types can use any of our serum and each provides multiple anti-aging benefits, but there are some formulary distinctions that make certain Paula’s Choice serums preferred for specific skin types. Here’s how they break down:

  • Resist Super Antioxidant Concentrate Serum and Resist Intensive Wrinkle Repair Retinol Serum can be used by all skin types, including sensitive skin. The Resist Intensive Wrinkle Repair Serum contains the highest amount of retinol.
  • Skin Recovery Super Antioxidant Concentrate Serum is best for normal to very dry skin because it contains plant oils.
  • Skin Balancing Super Antioxidant Concentrate Serum is best for normal to oily or combination or breakout-prone skin because it has the lightest texture and weightless finish.
  • Resist Super Antioxidant Concentrate Serum is one of two Paula’s Choice serums that does not contain retinol. It’s the natural choice for anyone whose skin cannot tolerate retinol.
  • Resist Ultra-Light Super Antioxidant Concentrate Serum has the lightest texture of all the Resist serums and is our only water-based (rather than silicone-based) serum. It does not contain retinol, so is recommended for those whose skin cannot tolerate this ingredient (or it may be used with one of our retinol serums).

How does the Skin Balancing Super Antioxidant Concentrate Serum differ from the other retinol products Paula’s Choice offers?

The silky, weightless Skin Balancing Super Antioxidant Concentrate Serum is best for combination to oily skin types. It contains several antioxidants (vitamins C & E, green tea, willow leaf, grape seed, and more) as well as retinol.

The percentage of retinol needed for efficacy is generally between 0.01% and 1%, which is quite a range, but further proof of just how powerful retinol is! For more on percentages of retinol in Paula’s Choice products, see our article Which Strength of Retinol Do I Need?

All of these products may be used with Skin Balancing Super Antioxidant Concentrate Serum or on their own, as each treats skin to a beneficial range of anti-aging ingredients.

Is the texture of Skin Balancing Super Antioxidant Concentrate similar to Paula's Choice Skin Balancing Invisible Finish Moisture Gel?

No. Skin Balancing Invisible Finish Moisture Gel is a silicone-in-water emulsion and has a light, water-based gel texture while the Skin Balancing Super Antioxidant Concentrate Serum is a non-aqueous serum that has a completely different feel. They're designed to work beautifully together, or you may use the Skin Balancing serum with any of our other moisturizers.

Does Skin Balancing Super Antioxidant Concentrate Serum decrease the appearance of pores?

The silicone polymers in this product float over skin and minimally "fill in" pores, creating a smoother surface. The effect (as with all such products) is temporary and how long it lasts depends on your pore size and skin's oil output, as well as other products used at the same time. Overall, this product is not capable of reducing pore size, but it's conceivable this effect will be noticed and can be prolonged by pairing it with a matte finish foundation and powder.You can reduce enlarged pores by not using heavy, greasy products and using a well formulated BHA exfoliant along with other key ingredients found in our Skin Balancing line.

I use a prescription product with tretinoin (i.e. Retina-A, Renova, Tazorac). Since Skin Recovery Super Antioxidant Concentrate Serum and Skin Balancing Super Antioxidant Concentrate Serum contain retinol, is it OK to combine them?

We are not aware of any contraindications surrounding the use of tretinoin and retinol and believe this combination is beneficial to skin. Because this question concerns a prescription drug, we recommend consulting your physician and following his or her advice. Alternately, you can apply the serum in the morning and the prescription retinoid product at night.

At what point after my laser and/or peel procedure can I begin using my serum again?

First, we urge you to follow the post-procedure instructions your doctor or nurse provided. If nothing was mentioned about when to resume use of a serum, please contact the doctor's office where you had the procedure done. Otherwise, our general advice is to begin using your serum again as soon as possible. All of our serums contain skin-repairing, anti-inflammatory, and replenishing ingredients that calm reddened skin and help enhance the healing process. Make sure you're also protecting your "new" skin every day with a product rated SPF 15 or greater.

Is Skin Balancing Super Antioxidant Concentrate Serum suitable for those with rosacea?

Yes. Research has shown that retinol can reduce inflammation that leads to symptoms of rosacea. The other antioxidants and soothing agents in this serum will help calm redness and soothe skin as they deliver anti-aging benefits.

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